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Transforming an Ugly Office Filing Cabinet with a Lick of Bright Paint

August 2, 2012

We have an old grey filing cabinet propping up one end of our workstation, it was an offcast from my mum and it is very useful for keeping all our paperwork in, the only problem I’ve had with it is its austere office look, which is at odds with the rest of the room. I have been meaning to paint it for years – I even put newspaper under it ready to paint it about 18 months ago, but somehow never got round to it (do you have projects like that, that you just never manage to get round to actually finishing?)

see the old grey filing cabinet in the corner? Yep, pretty ugly.

Well, after getting rid of our old sofas, scoring two fantastic white ones on Ebay, rearranging the sitting room and getting the new furniture from the charity shop, I felt I really had to stop putting off the painting of the filing cabinet, so I donned my painting clothes and rooted around in the storage box on our balcony to see what paint I could find.

two old pots of gloss paint

As luck would have it, I had an old tin of dark turquoise gloss and another of white gloss, each with a very had skin of dried paint on the top that I had to cut away, but underneath there was enough paint left to do a bit of mixing and come up with a bright light blue colour that would be perfect.

Mixing the paint

a little more


I gave the filing cabinet a good thorough scrub with sandpaper and then got to work. Two coats of paint, with 12 hours to dry in between, was all it took to transform the old boring grey filing cabinet into a bright, fresh piece of furniture that fit perfectly in our siting room. I love it. Mr. B loves it, even The Boy loves it, and all from two old tins of paint and a couple of day’s work.

after one coat of paint

all finished!

I hope I inspire others out there to go forth and paint their boring grey filing cabinets in bright colours of their choosing! Go ahead, you know you want to!

That last photo reminds me, do you see that screen on top of the workstation? Well, that is the screen we use when we want to watch anything online, or watch a DVD or play on the Playstation, because we don’t have a tv. We haven’t had a tv for about ten years now, and we’ve coped just fine really, but to be honest it’s not ideal to have to watch things on a small computer screen, or try to play a Playstation game on one either. We found watching a dvd together as a family or with friends almost impossible, computer screens are not built for multiple viewers. However, my dislike of tvs was so great that we stuck it out without one, I just couldn’t imagine one in our small sitting room. Mr. B started to comment more and more on how hard it was to properly enjoy a Playstation sesh with such a small screen though, so I thought it might be time to reassess my views on owning a tv, and we tentatively agreed that it might be time we actually bit the bullet and just got one. Mr. B pointed out that tvs these days weren’t the huge ugly boxes they used to be, we could get a thin flat screen one that would hardly be noticeable. And we wouldn’t get it hooked up to receive tv, so my objection to that would be upheld, but I’d be able to watch episodes of The Wire from the comfort of the sofa without having to drag a table over to put my laptop on. Mr. B went away and did hours of research (he loves to do days hours of research before making any kind of decision) and ordered one online. I forgot all about it. And then, a few days later, this was waiting for me when I got home from work:

My, what a big box!

Rather a large box, far larger than I had anticipated. I was quite shocked, to be honest, even after Mr. B reassured me that this was actually quite a small one, by other people’s standards, and his work colleagues had these size sceens in their kitchens and stuff (really?!). To me, it was still big, and I worried at first that it was too big for our house. Mr. B shared my worries, and even suggested that I make a fabric slip cover for it for when it wasn’t in use! Once the beast was out of the box though, and set up on the newly painted chest of drawers, it didn’t look so bad, and once I had watched a few episodes of The Wire on it, it didn’t seem too big any more! It’s funny how quickly you get used to these things. No one else has batted an eyelid at it, so all in all, I don’t mind it too much, and we get to watch the Olympics on it thanks to BBC iplayer, which has been great (although I still might make that fabric cover for it, it’s not something I want to have to see every day). In an ideal world, in the future, I will have a sitting room big enough to have a big cupboard in it that the tv lives in, behind closed doors, only to be seen when it is actually being used, but for now, this will do.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Cherry Smiles permalink
    August 2, 2012 7:47 pm

    That’s fantastic!! :o)

    I have some plastic filing drawers & really do want to get some real metal ones…. when/if I do, I’ll be painting them that’s for sure!!

    Just have to say *snap* on the tv! We have that one and yep it’s amazing how quickly you get used to the size of them!

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